He had not been thought of since the day he’d disappeared 20 years earlier, but now we was back. Mack blinked hard once, twice; then he took a deep breath and exhaled as if to blow his old friend away again.
“Hi, Mack. Remember me?” the figure asked, its voice harshly familiar.
“You’re not real,” whispered Mack.
“What did you say?” the figure asked.
“You’re not real,” stated Mack firmly. “You. Are. Not Real. I made you up. I made you up! YOU DON'T EXIST!" Mack shouted.
“Can you see me?” asked the figure. “Can you hear me?”
Mack’s shoulders slumped. “Yes, but…”
“But what? But your therapist convinced you that I was a figment of your imagination? Your parents should have saved their money. I left because I had business elsewhere, not because you stopped believing in me.” The figure came closer. He looked the same as the day he'd left: a dark haired, black-eyed, frail little boy, about six years of age.
“Please leave me alone,” Mack implored. “Go back to your other business, Skeeter.”
“I can’t,” said Skeeter. “Don’t you want to know why I came back?”
“No, I really don’t,” Mack responded. ”You made me do those terrible things. So many terrible things. I hurt people because of you.”
Skeeter grinned. One of his top front teeth was still missing. “No one can make you do anything you don’t want to.”
“You did,” Mack said.
“I did,” Skeeter agreed. “And you got away with it because of me.”
“What do you want from me?” Mack asked.
“I messed with a weak kid, Mack. He lost his mind. Freaked out, went running into the street and got hit by a truck. I need to lay low here for a while. The imaginary police are after me.”
Mack laughed. “The what?”
“Imaginary police. What, you don’t think the imaginary world is policed like your world? Well, guess what? It’s worse. Your cops have to look for you in the physical realm, maybe they use the Internet. Cops on my plane of existence just need to tap into the right imagination and BAM! I’m knocked back into oblivion. It doesn’t take much, they just pop in and out until they find me. Ever have a thought and then it’s gone in an instant? That’s them rummaging through your brainwaves, looking for some imaginary fugitive or other.”
“Wow,” said Mack, “this is all very interesting. So how exactly do I keep you hidden?”
“By believing that I don’t exist.”
“But you’ve been convincing me that you do.”
“Keep up that mind game and they’ll never find me here.”
“Ah, I think I understand now,” Mack said. “So, what happens if I convince myself that you do exist?”
“You heard me. Let’s say I were to believe, truly believe, that you do exist, that you’re standing before me here right now, all three feet and a half of you. What then?”
“Well...” Skeeter shifted from side to side, “well then I’d have to convince you that I don’t.”
“Really?” asked Mack. “And you think that’ll work?”
“Of course it will!” It came out as a feeble question instead of the bold statement it was meant to be.
“Hmm, I had something to tell you just now, but the thought is already gone," said Mack. "Wait, does that mean they’re closing in?”
Skeeter smiled slyly. “Nope, that means they’ve been and gone. Thanks for that. Now they’ll never find me!” He beamed at his own cunning, hopping up and down with excitement. On the third jump, he vanished.
Mack had a fleeting thought, something about a child he once knew, but the thought was gone as fast as it had come, and he went on with his day.
Created: Apr 29, 2017paint_by_letters Document Media